Sea defences could fail

SEA defences protecting low-lying Felixstowe have deteriorated so badly they could fail this winter, experts have warned.Now emergency work costing around £150,000 is set to take place to try to stave off problems while research is done into a long-term solution.

SEA defences protecting low-lying Felixstowe have deteriorated so badly they could fail this winter, experts have warned.

Now emergency work costing around £150,000 is set to take place to try to stave off problems while research is done into a long-term solution.

Part of the area of concern is right alongside the flood plain known as the south seafront, where Suffolk Coastal council wants to build 188 homes.

In a report to be given to councillors next week, consultants Halcrow say that if no action is taken the resort's front-line defences – the groynes – could fail in one to two years, and that could be this winter if there are severe storms.


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Suffolk Coastal's cabinet is being recommended to agree a series of measures, including placing huge rocks at the Manor End ramp, where the sea wall is deteriorating and beach levels are very low.

Underpinning will also be done on strategic groynes, and more rocks will be stockpiled nearby to be rushed to the scene of any breach in the defences.

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Beach levels will be constantly monitored, and talks will be held with the Environment Agency, responsible for the area from Manor End to Landguard, as it is concerned about its front-line defences this winter.

"The consultant's report suggests that there is a possibility that these front-line defences will fail under storm conditions this winter," said Jeremy Schofield, director of planning and leisure.

"It would therefore be prudent to put in place precautionary measures to bolster these defences.

"The report stresses a need to be able to react quickly to storm damage, if the sea wall and the prom are to be protected. To this end there are measures that need to be put in place as soon as is practicable to do so."

The area affected is described as the southern part of the resort – from the pier, past the funfair, to Manor End, part of which is a Blue Flag beach – where shore levels fluctuate regularly.

Some groynes have been undermined and have toppled over, and extremely high tides have occasionally overtopped defences or flooded the seafront gardens, or damaged the prom or left it deep in sand and shingle.

Details of major work required for the area will not be known until the strategy study for the coastline from Cobbold's Point to Landguard Point is complete.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

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